artwork: ralph murre
by Liz Dolan
It was always up to us, Sister said
Beata Maria Goretti as a model,
slashed dead rather than surrender her purity.
As if we who wanted to be good
could guard the locks stemming floods
which would engulf us all.
memorizing amo, amas, amat,
while hugging steel poles,
we were crushed by fine-suited gents
who sought out trim navy blue virgins,
our elbows a pointless defense as trains
undulated to rhythms of the morning rush.
And how could we be expected to keep saying no
as our blue-tied reflection careened
through shadowy tunnels into
when even Joltin’ Joe, La Bella Figura,
hooked up with Marilyn who never said no,
her vanilla skirt billowing like a parachute
pulling her towards heaven.
~ previously published in Token Entry:
An Anthology of Subway Poems